We all know that I am not much of a friend of comments, but sometimes leaving a comment may be helpful. Recently the community closed this question without any further explanation:

Indeed, this was quite obviously not a good fit for our site as it was merely asking for seemingly random translations, or in the later case it lacked a specific question/issue.

But the OP of the question may not have been aware of this.

Should we in such cases leave a comment with at least linking to our FAQ before closing? Should we have asked for further details, or question improvements before close voting?

  • I fail to recognize this issue in the recent question (second example in the post) which apparently triggered this re-featuring … There were actually three comments pointing out the problem with the question, namely that it was unclear. – Now, why it got closed as “off-topic” and not as “unclear what you are asking” is a different question, but it doesn’t matter much.
    – chirlu
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 11:12
  • @chirlu: we do occasionally receive flags for other posts closed w/o comments so take these only as examples. In the post we talk about here all comments pointed to issues with the post but none (except one comment that was quickly self-deleted) explained why it should be off topic, and how to improve it to be on topic. Note that this is a new user who is likely not at all familiar with this site's policies and above all may need some help on posting here.
    – Takkat
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 11:37

3 Answers 3


Yes, we should definitely leave a comment. In fact, the Stackexchange system encourages you to do this by giving you a message that says you should comment the decision.


I have left a comment below the question and am reproducing it here as an example:

"Even though it is clear that your native language is English, your question should demonstrate at least SOME knowledge of German. That is, you should make an "honest attempt" to translate these sentences yourself, and show what you have come up with, so we can judge your level of competence. If you make mistakes, we are here to help you "over the hump." We are NOT here to provide a translation service "from scratch." Good luck in your study of German."

One source of confusion is the closing as "too localized." This has the connotations of an "sophisticated" question that is too esoteric for most people. The real problem is the question is too UNsophisticated. So a better ground for closing is (in the language of the site), is "not a real question."

Even so, my preferred language would be, "not a suitable question for the site." (At some point, each site will have the privilege of developing its own language, format, and "norms.")

The text I would use is something like the following:

"This question is not of high enough quality to be suitable for the site. That may be because it is incomplete, or ambiguous. Or else it may be deficient in one of the following key areas: bad grammar, faulty logic, not enough research effort demonstrated, or not enough effort put into the construction of the question."


Closing a question is mostly not meant as an unfriendly act, but is most often perceived as such.

If we know why we close a question, we should communicate our reasons, and communicate them in concrete - not a random link to the faq. What is wrong with this question? If there is a way to heal it: Give suggestions. If you don't know why to close it, leave it open.

The first person voting to close should already leave a comment, such that the asker can improve the question. A second person, voting to close might then upvote the first comment, agreeing, or leave a different comment for a different reason.

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